PDP’s sharing formula that provoked defections, coalition
The sudden mass defection of key members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not just happen.
Indicators have emerged showing that a strong and equitable political structure sharing formula that resulted from months of negotiations among stakeholders in the coalition of united political parties, gave impetus to the surge into PDP.
Recall that so far, a total of three state governors, one deputy governor, 14 Senators, including the President of Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, scores of members of state Houses of Assembly, and many other politicians have defected to the main opposition party.
Investigation by The Guardian show that the political sharing formula contained in the report of the PDP Contact and Mobilization Committee headed by immediate past governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, was found alluring by the defectors.
The Imoke committee was set up to seal deals with other political interests towards forming a formidable coalition to retrieve political power from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was gathered that under the arrangement, in states where PDP is not in control a defecting governor from another party should take advantage of the situation to control the PDP structure.
In essence the political structure is shared in the ratio of 60-40 in favour of any governor coming to PDP, as such the governor controls 60 percent of the structure while those he meets in the party control 40 per cent.
For instance, going by the arrangement, in Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom is given 60 per cent share of the political structure, while other stakeholders in the state retain 40 per cent holding.
However, where a principal officer of the National Assembly is involved, he gets 50 per cent share.
But a special consideration was given to Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso with a share of 51 per cent control of the political structure of Kano State, because he defected with a large number of state legislators, local government chairmen, as well as, a former deputy governor.
In PDP controlled states, defectors are entitled to the general treatment accorded to every other member.
Also, PDP’s alliance with 38 other political parties that resulted in the formation of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has a slightly different arrangement.
But, although details of the arrangement are still being worked out, the only general understanding among all partners according to sources is to produce and support one common presidential candidate for the 2019 poll.
For the governorship, National and State Assembly election, partners are to support whichever party that has the most dominant political presence in a particular states or constituency.
It should be noted that other parties in the coalition that did not produce much elected officials, considerations would be given to them in appointments when the coalition forms national government.
Recently, CUPP Inaugurated a 17-member national steering committee led by a former Osun State Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola. With that the coalition now has a national secretariat in Abuja from where it coordinates the activities of its members.
While setting up the Imoke committee in May, PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus reminded the members, “your committee and your nomination into it is a well articulated decision of the party leadership to bring our open door policy to fruition.”
He enjoined them to “deploy your well versed network to help open the space and allow into our party, all those whose union with us can help in rescuing this country. Like we always say in this party, this umbrella is big enough to accommodate all people of patriotic ideals.”
Secondus explained that the “decision to reach out to other unions was informed by my open door policy aimed at making the party the preferred platform for all Nigerians.”
He added: “When I formally took over the leadership of this party on December 11, 2017, I made the symbolic move at the entrance gate of this party headquarters when I threw open the main gate of the Wadata Plaza ajar, in order to indicate that the party under my watch, would be open to all people of like- minds, irrespective of class, religion or tribe.”
In a bid to build trust and bolster confidence in the defectors, PDP, which is the most prominent of all the parties in the coalition, has ruled out automatic ticket for anybody, stressing that there will be a very fair and transparent primary elections on a level playing ground.
PDP’a National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told The Guardian that the multiplicity of presidential aspirants in the party would never produce any negative effect, saying the national leadership of the party had resolved to adopt very strict rules of transparency and fairness in its straw polls.
Insisting that the PDP primary election will be the most transparent ever witnessed in the country, the publicity secretary assured of “adequate protection, accommodation and a level playing ground at every level of political engagement and aspirations ahead of the 2019 general election.”
On perceived preference shown for some aspirants, Ologbondiyan said the PDP has taken note of all concerns raised by highly respected and committed leaders of the party as it concerns accommodation of interests, as well as, new alignments.
He said the party leadership has since taken extensive measures that would ultimately ensure that no person or group is, in anyway, short-changed, adding: “While the PDP appreciates and values such concerns, it is instructive to state that the national leadership of our party has already envisaged the challenges of an enlarged family and has since made adequate arrangements that would effectively cover all interests for the task ahead.
The repositioned PDP has amply learnt from the past. All members must therefore dispel every fear in relation to control of our structure as well as processes for selection of candidates for election, especially on the choice of our Presidential candidate, as such will be handled with the strictest adherence to the principles of internal democracy and zero tolerance for imposition.”